Illinois Democrats and the Illinois House should consider replacing House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Illinois, said Wednesday.
“The ongoing investigation surrounding Speaker Madigan is an unnecessary distraction and makes it harder to carry out the work of helping the people of Illinois,” Duckworth, of Hoffman Estates, said in a statement exclusively to The State Journal-Register.
“As our nation hopefully embarks on a brighter path with a new president, the Illinois Democratic Party and the Illinois House of Representatives should consider new leadership to continue the progress we’ve made at the state level and build on it.”
Duckworth’s statement comes a day after U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, of Springfield, said on WTTW-TV in Chicago that Democrats in this week’s election “paid a heavy price” for Madigan’s refusal to step away from the party chairmanship.
“Candidates who had little or no connection to him whatsoever were being tarred as Madigan allies who are behind corruption,” Durbin said.
Democratic Gov. JB Pritzker said Thursday that he also supports new leadership for the party.
“I agree with Senator Durbin that opponents were able to tap into voters’ concerns about corruption and their lack of trust in government,” Pritzker said of the defeat of a ballot measure Tuesday that he championed – to allow Illinois lawmakers to impose income taxes at graduated rates. “The Republicans and the billionaires that sided with them were effectively able to use the speaker as their foil, and that hurt our ability, our state’s ability, to get things done.”
When asked if he meant he supported new party leadership, Pritzker said, “Yes.”
Madigan has not been charged with any crime, but has been implicated in a federal bribery investigation. Commonwealth Edison admitted in a deferred prosecution agreement signed by the U.S. attorney for the northern district of Illinois in July that its top administrators offered no-work lobbyist jobs and sub-contracts to Madigan allies in exchange for favorable legislation. Madigan has denied ever trading legislation for favors, or recommending people for no-work jobs.
“I am proud of my record electing Democrats who support workers and families and represent the diversity of our state,” Madigan said in a statement Thursday. “Together, we have successfully advanced progressive policies that have made Illinois a strong Democratic state with super majorities in the legislature. Illinois is the anchor in the ‘blue wall’ that has been reconstructed in the Midwest, and I look forward to continuing our fight for working families as chairman of the Democratic Party of Illinois.”
Democrat Betsy Dirksen Londrigan of Springfield, who was defeated Tuesday by U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Taylorville, was among candidates Republicans linked to Madigan during the campaign.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.Contact Bernard Schoenburg: Bernard.firstname.lastname@example.org, 788-1540, twitter.com/bschoenburg
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November 5, 2020 at 06:17PM